Three coal shipments due on January 5, 9 and 16 - Minister

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that three shipments of coal are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on January 5, 9 and 16. He said that seven ships carrying coal required for the Norochcholai power plant will arrive in Sri Lanka in January alone.

The tender for the supply of new coal to Sri Lanka was awarded to an Indonesian company after receiving the recommendations of the Attorney  General and the tender was awarded to the Indonesian company. He said so while participating in a special media briefing held yesterday at the Power and Energy Ministry. Speaking on the media reveals relating to the scarcity of coal and procurement of coal for the Lakvijaya Power Plant in Norochcholai the Minister said that a few consignments have been scheduled to arrive in the country in due course ensuring the continuous operation of the Lakvijaya Power Plant.

However, Unit 2 of Lakvijaya Power Plant at Norochcholai was shut down indefinitely, in an attempt to manage the existing coal stocks and for routine maintenance Last week. But the Power and Energy Ministry trade unions revealed that maintenance of Unit 2 has been scheduled to be carried out next May. When Minister Wijesekara was asked about the issues relating to the places of religious worship with the increase of electricity tariff, he said that all religious places will be supplied with a free solar power unit which generates 5 kilowatts of electricity. He further said that these solar power units will be installed in religious place will be provided within a period of three months, under the Indian Credit Line facility.

Once the Minister was questioned whether the daily power cut will extend as a result of the scarcity of coal stocks he said that several coal shipments have already been ordered after paying the initial payments. In response to the speculations on coal stocks in the country running dry by January 2, the Minister, assured that existing coal stocks are sufficient until January 8 quoting officials of the Norochcholai coal power plant.

“Despite the delays in the arrival of coal shipments, the government will not increase the duration of daily power cuts now limited to two hours and 20 minutes,” he said.

While refuting allegations levelled by certain parties including certain trade unions that the government failed to begin the procurement procedure on time, Minister Wijesekara said the procurement of new coal shipments was delayed due to various reasons.

In view of the festive season, an uninterrupted supply of electricity was provided to the public on 25, 26 and 31 of December and 1 and 2 of January, next year. “There will be no power cuts on January 1 and 2, as well,” he said.


by Daily News Sri Lanka

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